Democratic party presidential candidates are warming up for another debate. The New Hampshire Union Leader announced Tuesday that it will partner with MSNBC to host a Democratic debate on February 4, five days before the state’s crucial presidential primary. According to CNN, Martin O’Malley quickly agreed to the debate and Hillary Clinton’s campaign said she would be happy to participate in a debate in New Hampshire if the other candidates agree, which would allow the Democratic National Congress to sanction the debate.” Bernie Sanders’ campaign said, “We will be working with the DNC and the other campaigns to schedule additional debates.”
Democratic party candidates defy party, risks sanction
The debate is not one of the six primary debates sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee. The DNC has a so-called “exclusivity clause,” which says that any candidate who participates in an unsanctioned debate will be excluded from one of the official six.
In a statement Tuesday the DNC said, “We have no plans to sanction any further debates before the upcoming first in the nation caucuses and primary, but will reconvene with our campaigns after those two contests to review our schedule.”
Will the DNC bend its rules?
The DNC has been heavily criticized both for the small number of debates scheduled and the inconvenient times they have aired on television. In May, the O’Malley campaign lamented the DNC’s warning on unsanctioned debates, saying that “exclusivity does no one any favors.” Readers of the Union Leader, New Hampshire’s largest newspaper, “have demanded a debate to help them see who is most fit to be the Democratic nominee for president,” according to the newspaper’s publisher and president Joseph W. McQuaid.
Union leader dumps GOP debate, opts for Democratic party
Earlier this month, the Union Leader was axed as a sponsor of a February 6 GOP debate that will air on ABC. Donald Trump took credit for forcing the Union Leader out of the debate after claiming the newspaper would be biased against him because it endorsed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Trump has also said he will boycott Fox News debate as he fears being treated unfairly by the moderator. The Union Leader has not made an endorsement in the Democratic primary.